Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Hoot-cootians and other creatures

Hoot-cootians........ All over the bush in their droves

Back in the Pilanesburg for the weekend and to celebrate my birthday, well not quite this weekend it's actually next week but this weekend is our timeshare weekend so it's close enough to celebrate my birthday.

Pam has given me a morning of interaction with and riding on elephants at the Letsatsing game park next to Sun City which is next to the Pilanesburg for my birthday, what an absolutely awesome present and way to spend a morning.

The morning starts with a talk by the guides about the elephants at the lodge, the elephants are then walked down to the lodge where we get to meet and greet them.

Letsatsing Reception Lodge

And the elephants came down two by two

Pam greeting Michael

"Ants are such tiny things ... arent they?"

No more for me!!!

Then its all "on-board" with our mahout and off on a gentle amble into the bush we went.....

It is absolutely incredible how quiet a creature of that size is even with 3 humans on its back when it walks through the bush.

It does get a bit noisy when said elephant gets a bit peckish and stops to uproot a small tree, tear it in half and very noisily chomp it down while continuing to walk along....... Still no foot fall noises.
Interesting piece of useless information - an adult elephants foot is 50 cm in diameter, and it eats for up to 18 hours a day, consuming 250-300 kilograms of food a day.... Now that is one hell of a lot of salad bits.....

250kg's of salad bits has a rather noisy side effect on said elephant, and sitting in the rear seat I was treated to rumblings in the stomach followed waves of flatulance - and an aroma of freshly processed grass and leaves.

After the safari, it was back to the lodge where we got to hand feed them, pour two handfulls of pellets into the end of the trunk which they then use to pour into their mouth, then dash back to the bucket of food get two more handfuls feed again..... repeat until bucket is empty.......and then it was time to say goodbye.

Gives an idea of the height on the back of the elephant

Feeding Time

Then it was off to Sun City for lunch at Santorini's - a great little Greek restaurant followed by a little lie down next to the pool to ease off the lunch.

We then peddled off back into the Pilanesburg for a bit of game viewing prior to closing time of the park at 18:30.

The bush as usual - we are never disappointed- is teeming with hoot-cootians and other game, now when I say teeming I don't mean that they are right up close, this is not a zoo, you have to look carefully and some of the time you have to use binoculars to confirm if what you have just seen is a hoot-cootian or something else.

So it was a drive back to our resort with a steady viewing of elephant, rhino (white rhino) giraffe, impala, steenbok a crocodile, springbok, kudu and hoot-cootians.


Hippo sunning themselves

Pied Kingfisher


Evening at a dam

Night comes down at our chalet


Spot the TWO Giraffe lying in the grass

Crocodile cruising for lunch

So what is a Hoot-cootian..... well it is a very oft spotted creature of the bush up there with the Yeti and the Haggis, we see dozens of them in the form of Lion-rocks, Elephant-trees, Cheetah-anthills.

It usually starts off with excited shouts .... there's a lion.... an elephant..... a cheetah followed by with eyes bulging into binocular eye pieces..... "Oh no its a tree, bush, anthill... or maybe its a hoot-cootian".


Friday, 12 April 2013

Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary and DeWildt Cheetah Sanctuary

There is very very good reason why I haven't put up a post for a while yet, cant think of it right now but here is a tidbit to get back on the keyboard again....

Vast long dull boring times, on the sailing ships of yore this period would more than likely have been called the doldrums - lying becalmed on an expanse of sea, well that's what it feels like for me.... work .... eat ..... sleep.... watch TV - don't forget the TV very important the TV it is my feed into the world of useless information, reason being I am a Discovery/National Geographic/History channel/BBC lifestyle fanatic.

But in this vast expanse of nothingness between frenetic bursts of travel and work we do do the odd interesting activity like going to our local animal parks or sanctuaries.

Jewelry lets not even talk about that I have drifted down a little uncharted backwater called pathetic useless pathetic laziness; yes I hang my head in shame but its the work that gets in the way .....you know always the work..... 

But onto to the animals..... we made visits to a couple of very worthy animal establishments in the last couple of weeks; one is Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary where monkeys that were ex-pets could be homed  in freedom in their natural environment, and we get to walk through their environment and in the case of one monkey - interact with him.

Dont look down... Dont look down.... Dont look down....

Monkey riding on Pam's Back

And then there was a visit to the De Wildt Cheetah Centre which was initially developed  as a Cheetah breeding project and then for wild dogs as well as other rare or endangered species.

Wild Dog

"Always getting under foot......"


"I'll have the steak rare very rare.... oh we are getting Eukanuba again"


Note the King Cheetah on the right

All in all it makes for a great day out and our money goes to a worthy cause.

Then it was off to the Hartebeespoort cable car to go to the top for a walk around and a bite of lunch

View of Hartebeespoort dam from the upper Cable Car station

Upper Cable Car station

Looking up the mountain